There is a question raised in the book, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr that asks: “How do you ever know for certain that you are doing the right thing?” It is a small line in a very powerful story that resonates with me and relates to Joseph in today’s gospel. As Joseph struggled mightily with the weight of the news that Mary (his betrothed) was pregnant, he ultimately made a choice from which we all can learn. This dilemma Joseph faced presents the same type of challenge that we encounter every day. (Ok not the exact same since Joseph had the son of God growing in his beloved Mary’s womb and an angel speaking to him.) The choice is whether to make a decision grounded in fear or rooted in love.
By choosing love, we can rarely, if ever, go wrong. Joseph prioritized love. We can only imagine how embarrassed, scared, and even angry he might have been. Yet, Joseph, guided by faith in God, elected love. That is our eternal challenge. Whether confronted with small, seemingly trivial decisions or huge, seemingly monumental decisions, we must strive to choose love instead of fear.
In doing so, we are more certain than before that we are doing the right thing.
Brian Elsner `97 serves as Athletic Director, Girls Basketball Program Head, and AP Economics teacher at Seattle Prep.
He and his wife, Dana, are parents to Lincoln (8) and Felix (5).